Finding time to focus on yourself is an imperative inclusion in your overall focus on wellness, which has led to a particular focus on the concept of “self-care” over the past five years or so. The need for self-care is now even more crucial, given the endless slew of unpleasant surprises 2020 has unleashed thus far.
There are countless different ways to indulge in self-care. We’re all different, which means that what qualifies as dedicating time to yourself and your own well-being will be different too – but there are a few things that should be beneficial to all. One such universally-applicable self-care option is essential oils and, below, we’ve highlighted five oils that can be hugely beneficial for this special purpose.
Lavender essential oil
Lavender essential oil offers so many benefits it can quickly seem as if we are reeling off every beneficial term in the book – and we very nearly are. This oil is anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiseptic, and antimicrobial, making it a very powerful substance. Thanks to these properties, lavender essential oil has been used as a way of managing a variety of conditions, ranging from depression to insomnia.
In addition to all of these benefits, lavender essential oil is also strongly associated with relaxation, making it an excellent choice as a self-care essential oil.
A relatively gentle oil with a beautiful fragrance, lavender oil works well for most purposes. It is a popular choice for diffusion, helping to enhance the scent of a room and providing a perfect relaxing atmosphere. For a more involved usage, you could try using lavender in soap bases; you could then use the soap of a morning in order to start the day with a little relaxation and self-care focus, or enjoy a long soak in the bath tub of an evening.
Orange essential oil
An incredibly pleasant oil that offers a fragrance as wonderful as one would expect, orange essential oil has a lot to offer. Similarly to lavender essential oil, it is antimicrobial and antibacterial, while also offering antioxidant properties – which is thought to fight damaging free radicals.
For self-care purposes, orange essential oil is perhaps used when you’re looking for a pick-me-up. The oil is strongly associated with helping users to feel uplifted and boosting their overall sense of well-being.
You can also use orange essential oil in soaps and, if heavily diluted, in skincare and beauty products, but be cautious: it can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, so always use a strong SPF if you have used orange essential oil topically. However, we would generally recommend orange essential oil for room fragrancing purposes, either via diffusion or an oil burner (used alongside a suitable carrier oil).
Peppermint essential oil
The scent of peppermint is hugely popular; for many of us, it is the concept of freshness in a fragrance – and it also brings to mind festive overtones that tend to raise a smile.
As an essential oil, peppermint is hugely potent, and offers a variety of different benefits to the user. It has, for example, been used in the treatment of conditions such as IBS, and its strong scent has resulted in it becoming associated with treatments for tension headaches and allergic rhinitis. For self-care purposes, we would recommend using peppermint essential oil to enhance feelings of alertness and help to clear your mind – if you’ve had a busy day and just want to be able to clear mental space, then peppermint essential oil is the ideal choice.
It’s possible to use peppermint essential oil topically in soaps or skincare products, but do so with caution: make sure the oil is appropriately diluted, and always do a patch test before using on a wide area. You can also use peppermint essential oil as a room spray; add a few drops to a water bottle mister and spray on any (children and pet-free) area to create a fantastic, vibrant atmosphere that is highly conducive to self-care.
Rosemary essential oil
For most, rosemary is something that is used in cooking, but this multipurpose herb can also be utilised for self-care purposes. In fact, rosemary essential oil is incredibly multi-faceted when it comes to providing health and well-being assistance.
With antioxidant, antimicrobial, and even anti-arthritic properties, rosemary essential oil offers physical health benefits – but its usefulness extends further still. Individuals with anxiety may find rosemary essential oil particularly calming, and the oil has also been associated with boosting cognitive abilities.
Rosemary essential oil can be used in a number of different ways, from beauty products to diffusers, but we think its strongest benefit for self-care could be found in on-the-go usage. Thanks to its twin properties of boosting cognition and providing relaxation, it’s the perfect accompaniment to those days when you just need a little something extra to keep powering you through. Dilute a few drops in a light carrier oil such as grapeseed oil and then fill a small roll-in bottle; use this on pulse points whenever you feel the need during the day, for a wonderful self-care break.
Bergamot essential oil
Perhaps the least well-known of the oils on our list, bergamot essential oil is nevertheless an excellent inclusion in any self-care kit. Featuring a wonderful fragrance that manages to be both spicy and fruity at the same time, bergamot encompasses a variety of properties – including, but not limited to, functioning as an antiseptic, an antispasmodic, and as an analgesic.
A purported ability to lower cholesterol is among the more unusual associations with bergamot, and the oil has also been associated with helping to provide pain relief. Both of which can be very helpful for self-care if applicable, and we would also suggest bergamot oil if lowering stress levels is central to your requirements.
Most people will tolerate bergamot essential oil if used on skin or in soap though, as is always the case with essential oils, ensure that the solution is appropriately diluted in order to avoid unwanted skin reactions. Bergamot also works well as a room spray or when diffused, but perhaps its greatest glory is found as a massage oil. Thanks to the winning combination of a stunning, unusual fragrance and antispasmodic properties, a self-administered massage with a carrier oil enhanced with a few drops of bergamot essential oil should result in pure self-care bliss.
The final word
Incorporating essential oils into your self-care routine can be a wonderful step, with multifold benefits for both your mental and physical well-being. We hope you enjoy experimenting with the five oils, and the different ways of using them, that we have highlighted above.